The American Academy of Arts and Letters (AAAL) in New York recently announced the winners of its annual architecture awards. Eric Owen Moss of Eric Owen Moss Architects won the prestigious Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize, created in 1955 to acknowledge significant contributions to 'architecture as an art.' Wes Jones of Jones, Partners: Architecture and Tom Kundig of Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects each earned an Academy Award for work characterized by a strong personal direction, while architect-cum-artist Lebbeus Woods was recognized with an Academy Award for his artistic explorations of the built environment. The four will be honored at an AAAL event later this month. Winners of the Academy Award receive a $7,500 cash prize; $5,000 goes to the winner of the Brunner Memorial Prize.
This year's awardees were selected from a group of about 50 candidates who were nominated by the AAAL's 250 members. "It was an unusually good group of nominees," says Richard Meier, who served as the chair for an illustrious jury that also included Henry N. Cobb, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Hugh Hardy, Steven Holl, Cesar Pelli, and James Stewart Polshek. The panel gathered at Meier's Manhattan office earlier this year to pore over the entries. "It's a lot of material to be reviewed and discussed,"says Meier. "The table is piled high with submittals and portfolios of the various nominees. Nothing gets overlooked."
"It's a wonderful prize, and I took it as a substantive compliment to be selected by this jury," says Moss.
Work by Moss, Jones, Kundig, and Woods will be included in an exhibition at the academy's galleries in Manhattan from May 16 through June 10. For more information, visit the AAAL's website at www.artsandletters.org.